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Jambudvīpa (P. Jambudīpa; T. 'dzam bu gling འཛམ་བུའི་གླིང་; C. Yanfuti/nan Shanbu zhou 閻浮提/南瞻部洲)[1] is translated as "Land of the Jambu tree," "Rose-Apple continent," etc. It is one of the four continents of our world-system according to Buddhist cosmology. It lies to the south of Mount Meru. Its shape is trapezoidal or resembling the shape of an axe-head.

The 84000 glossary states:

The name of the southern continent in Buddhist cosmology, signifying either the known human world, or sometimes more specifically the Indian subcontinent. The name comes from the jambu (“rose apple” or “black plum”) tree said to grow near Lake Anavatapta in the continent’s northern mountains, considered to be the source of the four great rivers of India.[2]

The Princeton Dictionary states:

At the center of Jambudvīpa is found the vajrāsana (“diamond seat”), the spot where the buddhas realize their enlightenment; hence, Jambudvīpa is always the continent where buddhas spend their final lifetimes establishing their dispensations and is therefore the most auspicious site for beings to take rebirth. Also unique in this world, Jambudvīpa is ruled by a wheel-turning monarch (cakravartin), the only continent that is so governed.[1]

The 84000 glossary also states:

The name of the southern continent in Buddhist cosmology, which can signify either the known human world, or more specifically the Indian subcontinent, literally “the jambu island/continent.” Jambu is the name used for a range of plum-like fruits from trees belonging to the genus Szygium, particularly Szygium jambos and Szygium cumini, and has commonly been rendered “rose apple,” although “black plum” may be a less misleading term.
Among various explanations given for the continent being so named, one (in the Abhidharmakośa) is that a jambu tree grows in its northern mountains beside Lake Anavatapta, mythically considered the source of the four great rivers of India, and that the continent is therefore named from the tree or the fruit. Jambudvīpa has the vajrāsana at its center and is the only continent upon which buddhas attain awakening.[2]

Myriad Worlds states:

The jambu tree is presumed by some to be the rose-apple tree (Eugenia jambolana). However, legend says that only one jambu tree exists, which is not visible to ordinary persons but only to enlightened beings.[3]

Alternative translations

  • Land of Jambu (Rangjung Yeshe wiki[4])
  • The island of the Jambu tree (A Dictionary of Buddhism[5])
  • the Rose-Apple Continent (Princeton Dictionary)
  • Continent/Island of Jambu


  1. 1.0 1.1 Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. Jambudvīpa.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Internet-icon.svg འཛམ་བུ་གླིང་, Christian-Steinert Dictionary
  3. Jamgön Kongtrul 2003, footnote 16, page 266.
  4. Rangjung a-circle30px.jpg dzam_bu_gling, Rangjung Yeshe Wiki
  5. Jambudvipa in A Dictionary of Buddhism; Oxford Reference


Further reading